Get ready for the I-o-Feet.
When you think of the billions of “things” that will one day be connected to the Internet, socks may not be one of the first items that come to mind. However, as recent reports have suggested, the smart clothing and electronic textile segment is expected to grow by leaps and bounds, so it was only a matter of time before the IoT would head to our feet.
First reported by our friends at Adafruit, Maker Guido Burger has developed an intelligent sock prototype packed with a LilyPad ProtoBoard, a LilyPad RGB LED, an Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega328), and most importantly, an Adafruit FLORA 9 DOF sensor. The sensor is tasked with driving the RGB LED and enables a user to do one of two things: monitor the sock during the washing process and find answers to questions that they may’ve never thought about. For instance, have you ever wanted to know how many g-forces a sock has to survive or how many times will it be washed?
The idea was first conceived after Burger had been working on a smart home hack. When presented with the option of a smart oven, fridge or washing machine, he decided the latter was the most interesting one.
“Because why the heck do you need a smart washing machine at all? They are already smart (weight sensor, special washing programs), but I got interested as the cloth in the washing machine was not at all connected,” the Maker reveals. “So, taking the possibility to transmit data from a sensor being under water was a great basis – a must have.”
While working on the project, Burger discovered that he needed to coat the electronic components with acrylic resin — except on the through-holes for the conductive thread. The Maker also tells Adafruit that he switched from a LiPo battery to a coin cell, as it had a better rating for this rough and tumble temperature changing life.
With the prototype complete, the Maker has embarked on the next iteration of the smart sock. This time, it will be equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy, which will allow for it to work with an accompanying app to collect and visualize data from a smartphone. As seen in previous projects from Burger, Platinchen (or blueIOT) is a platform from Fab-Lab Germany that combines a certified BLE module along with an ATmega328P MCU.
Want to learn more? Head over to Adafruit’s official write-up here.